Satun

Satun (สตูล) is a town on the Southern Andaman Coast of Southern Thailand.

Understand

Satun, population 22,000, is the gateway to Thailand's southern islands on the Andaman Sea. There are mountainous forests with more than eighty beautiful surrounding islands. The best-known islands are Ko Tarutao, Ko Adang, Ko Rawi, and Ko Lipe.

Satun is only a few kilometres from the Andaman coast but a whopping 940 km from Bangkok. Although a majority Muslim population town, Satun has largely escaped the strife that plagues some of the neighbouring provinces such as Narathiwat and Pattani. Satun is a safe and very friendly place to visit.

Satun covers an area of 2,478 sq km. Geographically, it features high hills. On the eastern side, there is a plain, mountainous forests, and water sources. The plain and mountains together with a basin lie in the middle near the coast. Along the coastal line is a plain and an occasionally-flooded mangrove forest where mangrove and Samae trees are mostly found.

Get in

By plane

The nearest airport is at Hat Yai, about 100 km. From there, take a minivan, bus, or taxi to Satun.

By train

Bangkok—Hat Yai or Bangkok—Trang. Then take a bus from Hat Yai or Trang to Satun.

By bus

From Malaysia

Express buses to Kangar, Malaysia leave hourly from Butterworth (RM10.40, 2 hours 15 min). Then, head to Kangar city bus terminal from express bus terminal and take Mara Liner's Kuala Perlis bound bus (RM1.50, 35 min) to the jetty. This kind of city-bound bus departure is infrequent and it is always good to plan ahead. The approximate departure times are 11:45, 13:15, 14:45, and 16:45.

The journey can only to be continued with longtail boat from Kuala Perlis's Lembaga Kemajuan Ikan Malaysia (LKIM) jetty, which is about 200 m further from the Langkawi-bound jetty.

Upon reaching Satun Tammalang pier, take red songthaew to Satun (30 baht, 10 min). The songthaew is most probably available when ferry arrives. If you are stuck awaiting a songthaew, a motorcycle taxi is another option, although is more costly (60 baht).

By car

To travel by car from Malaysia, first take the road from Kangar towards Padang Besar and take a left turn towards Wang Kelian, approximately 8 km, before reaching Padang Besar. Pass the border checkpoints of Wang Kelian on the Malaysian side and of Wan Pra Chan on the Thai side. You may want to stop at the morning market at the border area for some fresh fruit and vegetables. Drive past some scenic mountains on the way to Khuang Don and take a left turn towards Satun. On the way you will pass by the town of Chalung. The trip from the border check points takes about 90 minutes.

By boat

Langkawi Ferry has four daily services between Langkawi, Malaysia and Satun. No reservations are possible, just show up. The trip takes 1:15 and the fare is 300 baht/RM 30 one-way.

Kuala Perlis Fisherman's Boat - Kuala Perlis situated on peninsular Malaysia. Gateway to Langkawi, and Satun. No reservations are possible, just show up. Stay a night at Putra Brasmana Hotel and take a trip cruising the Perlis river to the pier. From there, take a longtail boat to Satun. The trip takes 45 minutes and the fare is 150 baht / RM15 one-way.

Do

There is not much excitement in the predominantly Muslim town of Satun. Most visitors head for Tarutao National Park (a group of beautiful islands about 2 hours by ferry from the jetty of Tammalang). Tammalang is the southern gateway to Satun (by ferry from Langkawi or from Kuala Perlis).

From Tammalang, the ferry sails to the island of Ko Lipe at 12:30 and takes about three hours. To Ko Tarutao departs at 10:00, arriving at 16:00 (varies, the ferry may turn up at 17:00 or 18:00). Check out island activities at the local tour agent at the Tammalang jetty. After booking your tour, you may want to head back to Satun to stay the night.

While in Satun, walk around to discover its quaint attractions and enjoy the local food. Local food includes spicy Thai food, Chinese-style fare, and Malaysian-influenced cooking of roti canai. There are a few pubs along the main town street. The only disco in town is about 3 km from the town centre. During a recent visit, there were about four customers and two dancers the whole night.

Wake up early and try to jog around the Monkey Park. It's just at the back of Phiman School and you will see a rocky mountain and a river besides it. You can circumnavigate this mountain by motorbike or by car as they have built concrete roads here and you will be amazed by the population of tamed monkeys here because they are used to the locals feeding them. Remember to bring some fruits and snacks, but the monkeys now prefer snacks, And be attentive to your belongings and the monkeys are prone to snatch them. There are also little caves around the base of the mountain that are worth photographing, Also, you can climb up the mountain by the concrete stairways. There are also cottages here for free if you want to listen to the gush of flowing water in the river and watch the monkeys playing. You can also go here in the afternoon before sunset around 16:00 as many locals go at this time.

The ferry trip to Tarutao National Park costs about 1,000 baht return. Scuba and snorkelling gear is available for rent at island dive shops. So just bring your suntan lotion and cash (better to change currency on the mainland for better rates).

Eat

Restaurants don't seem to have prominent signage or branding. As such it is difficult to label one better than another. Fortunately most of the food is good Thai food with a noticeable lack of Western franchises such as McDonald's or Starbucks. Don't be afraid to walk up to any place that looks as if it's serving food and just use sign language or simple English to order food. Most people are very receptive and will go out of their way to help you get something in your belly. Phonetically "Pad See Ewe" is fried noodles with various vegetable bits and perhaps some meat. Be adventurous, chew slowly, and watch out for bones.

Drink

Southern Thailand is predominantly Muslim which means that portion of the population abjures alcohol consumption. Alcohol is available in some restaurants and in most mini-marts. There are a few bars and other places with karaoke machines. Overall, it's not a hot spot for three day drunken clubbing binges.

For cool drinks and food: Port Satun at the fresh market and Rientong Pier. Free information,

Sleep

Budget

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, February 15, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.